John Jackson show powerful and exciting - thank you Zygote Press and John's family and friends

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 11/04/2006 - 01:40.


I was thrilled today to see a large collection of the small sculptures, prints, sketches and drawings of John Jackson exhibited at the remarkable Zygote Press, on E. 30th Street and St. Clair. As john Passed away this year, this is an exclusive opportunity not to be missed.


After seeing this exhibition, the only word I can use to describe Jackson is genius. There are pure artistic masterpieces in this collection, and they demonstrate a freeness of expression and innovation and comfort with form, design and material that you only see in a few artists.


There are repeating patterns and techinques common among some of the work - found objects, construction, stream of consciousness, organic form - and they are often combined in single works, and they all flow together perfectly, but each works as a unique artistic accomplishment. When you look at a John Jackson you think "I wouldn't have thought of that" and realize it is beautiful that he did.


There is a unique energy in this work. A furious commitment to creating art - undeniable passion, in fact - is executed at such a high level of power and insight that one is awed. The carving technique with the wood is beautiful... the balance of the forms natural... the composition inspired... the execution delightful. What seems casual is clearly completely thought through... what seems spontaneous is refined. Just remarkable.


It is also worth observing the power of enlightened curatorship, as the show has impact in and of itself. The selection of work and inclusion of sketches, and constructions, and drawings in a sophisticated structure, in the printmaking production space of Zygote Press, in the urban core, all lends to the experience of appreciating the work of the artist. Thank you to the remarkable Zygote Press for hosting this exhibition. And compliments to the directors of Zygote Press, who are extraordinarily humane and friendly.


 I went very early to the show, and had my 18 month old with me so couldn't stay long, but clearly this was a gathering of friends who care deeply for John. Yet, it was not a memorial but a celebration - a reliving and a living on that didn't speak of an end but a beginning. I feel that is an appropriate approach to the end of a chapter and beginning of eternity. No doubt, John Jackson left a powerful statement on Earth, that is everlasting, and is remembered with great love and appreciation, and that art matters.


 I am saddened by the loss of John Jackson, and will return to this exhibition again as soon as possible to experience the man and art more, while I may. The Exhibition is available for viewing for a month, during the hours Zygote Press is open. Refer to their website for hours and other details, and it is suggested you call before visiting to make sure someone will be there. This is a very exciting place to visit, as they are a production studio for the great printmakers in town and there are always amazing works of art to see and artists to meet. As we now see so clearly, with this exhibition of the work of John Jackson, amazing artists and art are often overlooked when they are so easy to enjoy, if you try.


I understand the Cleveland Institute of Art will host an exhibition of John Jackson paintings, early in 2007, so it is good to see the region is providing a retrospective for this wonderful creator. Don't miss the John Jackson show at Zygote, now, as it is the greatest demonstration of Cleveland at its best that I can imagine. Rest in Peace, John.



Gone but not forgotten

I was lucky enough to meet John Jackson about two years ago. It was at an event hosted at former Cleveland artist Ed Mieczkowski's Idea Garage. Mieczkowski and Jackson had collaborated on a project called Newcell. John Jackson impressed me as being a very thoughtful artist. He was unassuming, almost shy, and he seemed to be very mindful of everything around him. Seeing many of his works, I now have a little bit better understanding of his brilliant way of looking at things and seeing what most people overlook. I also realize what Cleveland and the art world lost. I hope that whatever is done with his estate, some of his works remain accessible to the public in some format.

I'll be blunt - if you don't go to this, you don't care

Litmus test - you go to the John Jackson show or you don't care about arts in NEO. Period. Many reasons - if you go, you'll know. Otherwise, shut up.

Disrupt IT

The Giver

Norm, I visited this post when you first added it and it gives me great pleasure to revist it and see John Jackson's work documented for the world to see.  He was a great, gentle soul and his inner child is evident in these pieces.  Remembrance.

Never forgetting

I am so awed by John's work and glad we keep the appreciation alive. It is also worthwhile to keep alive the awareness of the tragedy of John's loss. We can all learn from both. Thanks for reconnecting us with those realities - we must reconnect here regularly.

Disrupt IT

Green Goddess

  John's painting offers comfort to those of us living with grief.  The Plain Dealer recognizes his spirit today.

Achala, truly his sister--brother sun and sister moon--should find some comfort in this CMA press release attribution:

The Museum also recently acquired two gifts, each representing and celebrating the artistic achievement of artists from Cleveland.
Green Goddess (Watercolor, gouache charcoal and graphite with collage, 2005), which was exhibited in the Museum’s 2005 NEO Show, was given to the Museum by Achala Wali, sister of the late artist John Jackson (American, 1955-2006). A graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art, Jackson was a painter, sculptor, draftsman and printmaker. This gift of his work is one of a small but growing collection of 21st century drawings and is the first in which the subject matter is nearly abstract.